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News » Milwaukee Brewers Inside Pitch 2008-06-28

Milwaukee Brewers Inside Pitch 2008-06-28

Milwaukee Brewers Inside Pitch 2008-06-28
When the Brewers traded two minor league pitchers to Pittsburgh last December for reliever Salomon Torres, the deal barely made a ripple in the offseason waters.

Had Torres not initially suggested that he might retire again rather than leave his family home in Pittsburgh, news of the trade quickly would have passed. The following day, the Brewers made much bigger headlines when they signed free agent closer Eric Gagne to a one-year, $10 million deal.

There was no way of knowing at the time that the first transaction would have a bigger impact on the Brewers' fortunes than the later. Gagne struggled mightily as the team's closer, going 1-2 with a 6.98 ERA in 20 outings, with 23 hits and 16 walks allowed in 19 1/3 innings.

When Gagne went down with rotator cuff tendinitis -- coincidentally, in Pittsburgh -- the Brewers were in need of a new finisher. Manager Ned Yost announced he would go with the dreaded "closer by committee," but it didn't take long for Torres to take over that duty and put a firm grip on the job.

Unlike Gagne, who turned nearly every opportunity into a life-and-death situation, Torres has been machine-like in clicking off saves. He has gone 12-for-12 in save chances, boosting his overall total to a career-high 13, while allowing only three runs in 15 2/3 innings (1.72 ERA), including three non-save outings.

Why has Torres taken to closing like a bird takes to flying?

"It's his mind-set," Yost said. "He has been pitching a long time. He understands the pitch-to-pitch mentality, that it's three outs. He doesn't put an overabundance of emphasis on it."

TWINS 7, BREWERS 6: RHP Guillermo Mota had a better day Thursday, when the Brewers didn't play, than Friday, when they did. Mota surrendered a tiebreaking homer with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to Joe Mauer on an 0-2 pitch that gave the Twins their 10th consecutive victory. The day before, Mota's ERA dropped from 4.50 to 3.90 when two runs charged to him on June 12 in Houston were erased on a scoring change. The Brewers built a 6-3 lead on four home runs, including two by RF Corey Hart, but couldn't hang on and lost their second in a row after a 2-0 start on the nine-game trip.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: June 28, 2008

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